Russia's Transition to Autocracy

Just as Russia's leaders pretend that they are ruling over a democracy, they also pretend that they are ruling over an empire.

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Argentina: From Kirchner to Kirchner

Despite key improvements during Néstor Kirchner's presidency, Argentine democracy remains vulnerable to crisis. The near collapse of the party system and weakness of political and economic institutions continue to threaten stability.


Politics, Markets, and Society in Lula's Brazil

Brazil under Lula offers a test case of how politicians and societal interests in developing countries react when economic growth and new possibilities change the name of the game from shock and scarcity to boom and prosperity.


Ecuador: Correa's Plebiscitary Presidency

Long an extreme case of institutionalized instability, Ecuador now has a dynamic young president who is determined to remake its constitution, and eventually its society, in the name of "twenty-first-century socialism."


The 2007 Freedom House Survey: Is the Tide Turning?

Authoritarian pushback continued to affect key regions and countries in 2007, but the courage, energy, and creativity that democrats continued to show gives reason to think that their cause has brighter days ahead.


Public Opinion and Democratic Legitimacy

Do young democracies have to "deliver the goods" economically in order to win political legitimacy in their citizens' eyes? Public opinion data from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Arab world suggest some fascinating answers.


China: From Prison to Freedom

Why has China's transition to democracy been so delayed, and what can be done to hasten it?


Progress and Retreat in Africa: Challenges of a "Frontier" Region

In Africa today, investment flows in and civil societies grow stronger, yet many of the continent's leaders continue to behave autocratically, defending their privileges against the spread of law-based rule.

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Progress and Retreat in Africa: Presidents Untamed

Despite sweeping political and constitutional changes in Africa, a notable feature of the ancien régime survives—the imperial presidency. African presidents may be term-limited, but they have not been tamed.


Progress and Retreat in Africa: Legislatures on the Rise?

The legislature is emerging as a "player" in some African countries, though not in others. What is the relationship between legislative development and democratic consolidation in Africa?


Progress and Retreat in Africa: The Rule of Law versus the Big Man

Africa is a battleground between formal democratic institutions and rule by the will of the "big man." Civil society groups are waging this struggle, and technology is equipping them with surprising new tools.


Trends in Democracy Assistance: What Has the United States Been Doing?

Democracy assistance has been a growing priority for the United States since the end of the Cold War. The record shows that its focus goes well beyond elections and other procedural dimensions of democracy.


Trends in Democracy Assistance: What Has Europe Been Doing?

In recent years, European aid in support of political development has been on the rise. What kind of programs have these funds been supporting, and where are they being spent?


Books in Review: India's Improbable Success

A review of India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha and The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence and India's Future by Martha C. Nussbaum.


Election Watch, April 2008

Reports on recent elections in Armenia, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Croatia, Djibouti, Georgia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, Serbia, Taiwan, and Thailand.


Documents on Democracy, April 2008

  • Excerpt from Kosovo's Declaration of Independence from Serbia, which was approved by the Assembly of Kosovo on February 17.
  • Excerpts from U.K. foreign secretary David Miliband's speech, "The Democratic Imperative," presented on February 12 as the Aung San Suu Kyi lecture at St. Hugh's College of Oxford University.
  • The opening paragraphs of the February 28 power-sharing agreement between Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga, signed after extensive negotiations led by Kofi Annan to end the crisis sparked by the disputed December 27 presidential election.
  • Excerpts from the January 6 statement, "Pakistan's Tipping Point," by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Benazir Bhutto's son, who was appointed chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party after his mother's assassination on December 27.